JSA is Justice for All

Posted on February 4, 2010 by

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If the title was not enough to tell you this article is about the Justice Society of America. For this article I had to call in a few favors from some honorary members and get one to spin the earth around backwards to get back to the time of the originals. I could discuss the JSA of today and how they have been revived, or even retconned, over the years, but I’d rather focus on the greatest time; the Golden Age.

To dig into the true greatness of the JSA you do have to go back to a time before time. When comics were loved and abused and read for the material and not slipped into bags (yes such a time did exist I promise). See originally back in the day before the great feuds of today; the comic companies were out to really push the underlings, the b-listers, the ones who would be wearing black rings these days. Yes this was partially to make money on the unknowns, but also meant they did not have to take a chance on new comics or come up with a slew of new characters which gets confusing.

See unlike the teams of the future (remember we reversed time by spinning the Earth backwards and no the physics nuts cannot explain why this is impossible and would kill us) they did not focus on the hot topic all-stars. Instead they focused on the characters that did not have their own series, were cameos at best and background players.  The original line-up for JSA was the very first true super hero team and first time a company combined characters from different companies and for a very good purpose.

It was mandated back then that the original members had to be characters that did not have their own comic.  So back in the day the line-up was Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hour-Man, Sandman (not that one you gothic lovers), Spectre and The Atom.  While characters like Hawkman have always been a part of the JSA and a few members never really made it into a solo career (at least not a successful one) some of these players did go on to have their own time to shine in the lime light and when they did they joined the ranks of Batman and Superman as honorary members.

Yes that is right in the original team Batman and Superman got snubbed (gotta hand it to any team that has the guts to deny the biggest hitters entry). Remember these are not the members of the Justice League of America (those damn retcon knock offs). These are the original members with the original powers. Granted this was back when the Green Lantern could be beaten by a pissed off Oak (better than a miffed banana) and the Flash fought the three stooges on a regular basis, but this was a different lighter time. In time this did fade and they came back to the fold, but there was a time where they themselves became cameos.

While it is true that most of these characters were not changed over the decades (on Earth 2 anyway) there were definitely some roster changes over the years. This included the likes of Black Panther, Stargirl, and even Wonder Woman. At one point the greatest roster change came when All-Star Comics (the original house of JSA) became All-Star Western. Though the JSA made a comeback and proved how truly in sync with the world comics were. They went up against Hitler (then again back then who wasn’t?) and went up against the Joint Un-American Activities Committee where they were accused of being Communist (then again back then who wasn’t?). After this the JSA decided to take a step back and retire from the super hero world.

This was a great and rare event in comics. When asked to reveal their identities they decided they could not and simply walked away. Though in time as with most comics they did return. In fact over the decades they have been retconned more than probably any other entity in all of the multi-verses of comicdom. They went through the works including a fight with a villain that gave them energy which stopped them (and somehow their spouses) from aging as much, their origins being changed, and even having a whole other alternate team based off them that became hugely popular for awhile there, but now-a-days who has heard of the Justice League of America?

I would love to see comics go back to a strong team of unknowns who could have a chance to rise up. Maybe even a chance for indie comics to really get a start rather than being buried under the all-star teams that romp through the pages of our comics these days.  To see if those days come I guess I better get out of here, so while I call in another favor to speed up my molecules to slip into the speedzone and rejoin in the millennium remember the days when unknowns had a chance and teams were rare.

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Posted in: Comic Book Stuff